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The Wedding Post
or… 101 things that went wrong on my wedding day

probably my favorite shot

I think my wedding was the prettiest wedding ever… even if a million things went wrong. You know what they say, “One thing will always go wrong and nobody will ever notice”. Well, it’s true. And sometimes fifty things will go wrong and still people won’t notice. This is the story behind my wedding and all the little things that went wrong that made it… just right.

Toby and I got married at 9:30 in the morning on a Saturday. September 25th, 1999 to be exact. I wanted to get married on 9.9.99 but the ninth was a Thursday and Thursdays didn’t really work out for anybody’s schedule.


I don’t know what I was thinking making Toby, the world’s most renowned sleeper-in-er, to be at his own wedding any time before noon. Obviously, I wasn’t thinking. I was more concerned about having a beach wedding and not wanting the afternoon wind to pick us up and blow us off the cliff. So morning it was and amazingly Toby made it to the wedding in plenty of time.

I’m sure all my coworkers were grumbling that they had to get their butts out of bed early on a weekend and then when they got there, there wasn’t even going to be any alcohol served. What a buzz kill. But the park we had the wedding at was a state park (only $25! for a permit) and alcohol was not allowed. Not to mention we have a few alcoholics in the family who… well, that’s another blog for another time. Lets just say we were better off without the alcohol for many reasons.

my little box flowers

In spite of the was early hour and lack of alcohol, it was a beautiful day for a wedding. IT WAS FOGGY! Not exactly what I dreamed up but it was kind of cool in a misty, mystical I-dream-of-Enya sort of way. I was so paranoid of people getting sunburned that I set out a basket of sunscreen and a stack of straw hats next to the guest book for people to wear. This turned out to be silly and totally overkill but a few people went home with a cute straw hat.

deer in headlights

Let’s talk about my hair. My hair was the number one thing that went wrong. Here is my advice to all brides to be: Don’t pay someone to do your hair at 5 am. Just do your own hair. If you must pay someone to do your hair for you, please please please have them do it at least once before your big day. You don’t want to end up with Marge hair like me.

I did go to this hair dresser a couple of times before my wedding. We talked about what I wanted and I think she even played with my hair a little. I had just cut my hair super short earlier that year and we both knew that getting it to look “romantic” was going to be a bit of a challenge. But she seemed confident and “cool” and “hip” so I put my wedding hair in her hands.

Big mistake. First of all getting my hair, my mom’s hair, all my many many many bridesmaids hair done BEFORE a 9:30 am wedding was a huge big job. A job that this hairdresser didn’t really think very much about before she said yes. And I, like the naive idiot that I am thought it would be fine. I love mornings! Doesn’t everyone else too?

the bridesmaids

No they do not. The hairdresser was so overwhelmed by all the hair she had to style before eight something in the morning, she had bribe an assistant to help her out. The assistant turned out to be way more skilled than she was and did all of our hair in some kind of slicked back crazy spikey 1999 New York fashion run-way style. She was very good… it’s just that I didn’t want crazy spikey 1999 New York hair for my romantic outdoor soft and natural wedding. Everything was wrong.

As if my mile high spiked hair wasn’t bad enough, I fell under the spell of the high fashion New York assistant and I let her plaster on some white under-the-eye shadow and dark red lipstick that made me look like a scary goth girl. I never wear make up. It was all wrong. Thankfully, I came to my senses somewhere between my house and the beach and managed to scrape off three layers of the white stuff before we started taking pictures.

the little flowergirls

My hair was another story. My friend Kate somehow magically showed up at the hair salon with a little baby fairy wreath of flowers that she made for me without me even asking. She put it over my giant bobby-pinned hair-do and somehow the division of flowers over giant hair made it seem less Margish and more Audrey Hepburn. Kate literally saved the day. Now, when I look back at those pictures I kind of like my hair. I don’t love the one piece of bang that lops over onto my forehead but at least my short hair forced into an up-do is not terribly unflattering.

The next thing that went wrong was the actual ceremony. Hardly anybody knows this story and it is kind of funny actually. Because I was excommunicated from the meeting at the time, I had to find a pastor to marry us that I did not know. We finally ended up using a pastor that we liked from a friend’s wedding. He was very charismatic and told funny jokes. But he also seemed pretty grounded and used verses from the bible that we were familiar with.

We met with him two times before the wedding. He counseled us on how to manage money as a couple and how to work together to solve problems. He was kind and wise and we thought he was going to be the best person to marry us.

We didn’t realize that he had scheduled to speak at a funeral the same day as our wedding and last minute couldn’t make it! Yes. On the day of our wedding we did not have a pastor. Talk about bridezilla freak out attacks. I don’t know what I did. I think I have blocked it out.

I guess pastors have this sort of over-booking problem now and then and they have a network of friends who will stand in for them. So there we were on our wedding day, standing there getting married by someone we had never ever seen before in our lives! But the funny part was that he was also very charismatic and told jokes and stories about us as if he had known us our entire lives. It was actually very creepy.

coming down the aisle

At one point, the stand-in pastor said Toby had told him something wonderful about me that Toby never even said. People in the audience started tearing up it was all so romantic. What a perfect couple on a perfect day they must have thought. Meanwhile, Toby and I are staring at each other with wide eyes thinking what the…??! I wish I remembered the exact phrasing. I think I have it in a box somewhere. It was a script the pastor read by heart and later gave to us on paper. Maybe someday I’ll find it and post it here.

lost in the lunch boxes

Those were the two big things that went wrong. The other things that went wrong were not so very terrible. There was the case of ants making a giant trail up the food tables that were amazingly exterminated by my friend the fairy godmother with a big can of Raid before I even showed up. Then there was my mom’s hair and how the hair dresser put some kind of awful mousse in it that made it look dirty and stringy in every single photo.

Let’s not forget how we didn’t do anything that we practiced during the wedding rehearsal the day before. The bridesmaids filed down to the front of the ceremony BEFORE the groomsmen and when the groomsmen finally figured out where they were supposed to be, they all rushed in at the same time looking like guilty hooligans. Of course this bothered me tremendously but not a single person I asked about it afterwards knows what I am talking about.

me made them walk around with us in the dirt

Then there was the whole credit card fiasco. This is such a typical Brenda story. I lost my wallet the day before my wedding. I was such a scatterbrain. I left it on top of my car at the tailor’s when I was picking up my altered wedding dress and then I drove off leaving it there in the parking lot. When I figured out what I had done, I freaked out and called and cancelled ALL of my credit cards.

This was really stupid since not more than a few hours later some kind stranger found my wallet and called me to return it. What a wonderful turn of events except that I cancelled ALL of my credit cards and by the time I got my wallet back it was too late to get them all turned back on again. Which made it impossible to pay all my vendors (caterer, pastor, Flamenco guitarist, state park, the parking gate…etc etc) on the day of.

It was a nightmare. The caterer took a check thankfully and the rest I ended up paying with cash advances (and going into major overdraft) out of various atm machines.

guitarist guy and boxes

Lastly, but not least, was my bridezilla moment. I am so not proud of this. I hired a Flamenco guitarist to play during the ceremony and reception lunch. He was wonderful, so very talented with his long long long fingernails strumming away on his beautiful guitar. He also happened to be the same musician that played at the Gypsy Den on my first date with Toby (we went there after our dinner at the Hari Krishna Temple). Everything was perfect. Except his amplifier.

Since our wedding was at the beach there was quite a bit of background noise (ie; surf and wind) the musician had to overcome. In order to play over this background noise he needed an amplifier. But since our wedding was out in the sticks not anywhere near any kind of electrical outlet this amplifier had to be powered by a generator. A very noisy generator that had to be hidden five hills away in order to mask it’s noise.

I’m not really up on my electronics but somehow this amplifier worked with the generator via air waves. Maybe this was like wifi before wifi was invented. I have no clue. All I know is that the connection was not very clear and the pretty Flamenco music kept cutting out like a bad cell phone call.

All I knew was that my music was not working. I had planned too hard and too long for some stupid generator to ruin my perfect day. Before I knew it, I spouted off something really loud in front of everybody about how they better fix it. I completely forgot that I was the center of attention wearing a pretty fairy princess dress and looking so demure. Yelling about generators was not exactly becoming of the fair bride. Good thing nobody was filming that part.

the just married bug

I’m pretty sure there were many many more things that went wrong but this post is already too long as it is. I just want to sum it all up by saying the wedding was perfect. Even though everything went wrong, it all turned out okay and I still remember it as one of the best days of my life.


  • familymclean

    I think we all have moments, one way or another. On our day, the photographer missed the guys going down the isle and my mom got seated after the wedding party, which went out in the wrong order and a few back tracked down the isle to try and right it. My schedules never got handed out–which i had laboured hours to make. Then Dave and I both said dequare instead of declare. Then it was windy and we were out at the lake and…..i could go on and on, but no one seemed to notice and thought it was perfect. Funny thing is I was freaking out at the time…oh and I fell down the stairs and chucked my bouquet 10 feet up in the air…..but to look back on it now, all those moments really made it our day and we laugh about the dequare/declare part all the time.

  • comfortablycrazy

    Everything was beautiful, even with the bumps. Do you remember the ride in the RV to the park and the little mini-massage to try to get you to calm down? I remember worrying that Rapunzel was going to escape from mom and dad and fall off the edge during the ceremony, or that I’d lose my balance and fall backwards over the edge (I’m not to fond of heights). I can’t wait to help you plan an anniversary party. If we start now we should have everything planned out exactly how you want it. 2 years should be long enough to plan it right?

    SAJ says: Heh.

  • OMSH

    Jeff called me his “awfully wedded wife” and I had to pee 3 different times after getting fully dressed in a somewhat difficult dress. My attendants were amazing -holding the dress OVER MY HEAD so I could go into the loo.

    I think we all have stories to tell – maybe they don’t involve generators and spikey hair, but I’ve heard some good ones.

    I’m off to bed – at this ripe hour of 2:00 a.m.

  • Heather

    Despite all the things that went “wrong,” the marriage is obviously going right! Congratulations! I just have to ask, what’s in all the big white boxes?

  • Jenna

    What a beautiful day. :) We had many things go wrong as well on our wedding day but, honestly, I can’t remember all of them right now. Some? Oh yeah. But not all of them. LOL

  • silver

    I want to know about the big white boxes, too! Picnic lunches?

    The way I figure it, it’s the things that go wrong that you remember. If nothing goes wrong, what do you have to remember about your wedding day (other than the fact that you got married, of course)? All the things that went wrong with my wedding kind of happened behind my back. The day is a big blur to me.

    Oh, wait, something had gone wrong. The musicians were supposed to play a song instrumentally for the verse when the bridesmaids and groomsmen walked down. They weren’t supposed to be singing until the chorus, which was when I was to go down the isle with my dad. Well, they started singing with the verse. The musicians and myself were probably the only ones to notice, though (especially since the guests didn’t know the plan).

    SAJ says: You probably figured it out by now but yes, the boxes were lunches. Little gourmet sandwiches, a fruit cup and a cookie.

  • Shawna

    Our priest (who was more of a rent-a-priest than a lifelong spiritual counselor) introduced us as “Mr. and Mr. Last Name” instead of “Mr. and MRS.”, our wedding cake (that I explicitly said I didn’t want to be some big Jenga contraption, but yet was) was a dead ringer for the leaning tower of Pisa, I said the “f” word in front of my father-in-law in front of the church when a big gust of wind yanked at my bobby-pinned-to-my-hair veil, I got lipstick on my gown and swore in front of my grandmother (who was already shocked because she had just found out that I was wearing thong underwear (but they were my blue in the old-new-borrowed-blue!) instead of “bloomers”). Re-reading this I realize that I swear profusely in times of stress. And use too many parentheses. But I digress. Despite all that goes wrong, it could always be much much worse. And the “bad” things that happened that day are now funny, quirky, and make the most perfect day even more memorable.

  • Beth

    I agree with everyone…it’s the the things that go wrong that we remember. And I feel your pain about having your minister not perform your ceremony. My minister was one of my closest friends (who happened to be driving 3 hours to get to our wedding). On his way out of town, he was pulled over for speeding. The policeman decided that his car wasn’t registered and his ID was fake — not sure how all this happened. So, my minister was arrested the night before the ceremony and kept in jail over the weekend. I had a panic attack while decorating because he had just used his 1 phone call to let me know he wouldn’t be performing my ceremony. Luckily my hubby-to-be had worked with a minister at one of his former jobs, so he called him up at 10:30 the night before the ceremony and Denny agreed to do our wedding. It ended up we learned just how awesome our friends are and the day was great.

  • Katie

    Aww, I loved that! SUch beautiful pictures and even more beautiful story. And it’s true…something always goes wrong, but really, what can go so horribly wrong that it ruins your day?
    We had a hurricane hit the day of our wedding, the limo was an hour late picking me up and it had a leak in the roof….but we still got married and it was perfect despite everything that went wrong!
    Isn’t love grand? Happy, happy 8 years!!

  • Ninotchka

    Happy Anniversary. Your wedding looked beautiful and unique and fun and I think you looked so incredibly pretty. I don’t necessarily think I looked all that great on my special day (too fairy princess for me) but I still remember it fondly as definitely one of the best, funnest days of my life!

  • Michelle

    HI SAJ – Pics are gorgeous! I loved your gown….sooooo pretty! I thought your hair was long, looking at the pictures! I didn’t realize it was short until you said something! We had a blue VW Bug for a while…she was going to be a fixer-upper, but, well, you know – things happen and then you don’t have time to do that :o)

    Hope your Baby Bug feels better soon. Thanks for posting your pics…it is fun to get to see them!

  • Amanda

    Ok, you are totally stunning. Your hair is so beautiful… and seriously the flower wreath thingie really makes it. Very cute. Love the photos and the story. I don’t even think I can remember that many details about my own wedding… and it was only four years ago.

  • Clownfish

    I had to chuckle as I read through the list of stressors that occurred on your wedding day. It was not that I was laughing at the situations but instead, that I remembered none of them!

    Maybe I’m just getting old but all that I remember of that day was that two of my friends got married with a wonderful cliffside ceremony. Toby looking handsome wearing his tux and a smile as he stared at you, just so beautiful in your gown! All of this, overlooking the stunning California coastline.

    Your story was fun…but I know what I remember. Happy Anniversary!

  • JennB

    What a beautiful bride you were… despite the pitfalls, it looks like everything worked out just fine. I love your dress! We just had our 8th anniversary too – 9/5/99. What was in all the ubitquitous white boxes with brown string?
    Looks like a beautiful day. And at least you came away from it with some good stories.
    Happy anniversary!


  • carrien

    The top layer of my wedding cake slid off, during the reception while every one was watching. It was that hot that day, and there were a ton of mosquitos.

    No one put out the wine or bread for communion, and there was no water for the ceremonial foot washing. BUt It was a perfect day for me too.

    I think you looked beautiful and agree that your wedding was the prettiest ever.

    Meeting? Excommunicated? What faith are you?

    SAJ says: Christian… it’s a long story.

  • Gretchen


    And happily ever after.

    Though I can’t remember if I had a bridezilla moment, I’m sure my mom and sister could come up with at least two – or ten. Who am I kidding.

    Now, I just have mom-zilla moments.

  • Anonymous

    You looked beautiful! I thought the flower wreath had been planned as part of the fairy garden by the sea look! What an exquisite wedding! I also LOVED the basket of flowers by the sunscreen… what a neat arrangement.

  • mamasgotmoxie

    happy anniversary!! my husband and i share the same anniversary as you… three years for us. :) hey, at least your husband’s aunt didn’t create a balloon arch for your head table like mine did! as soon as we walked into our reception area i thought i had stepped back in time to a 60s prom. horrible, horrible, horrible…

  • another gretchen

    What a gorgeous wedding! My wedding was outdoors also and it rained all day. Luckily we had reserved a shelter house just in case and it worked out perfectly.

    I had “practice hair” done the week before my wedding and it was huge and awful. So I asked her to just pull it back into a teeny tiny low bun, and that was much better.

    That morning, after getting my hair done and my veil on, I backed into someone in the parking lot.

    Not to sound like an alcoholic, but it looks like a couple guests are drinking champagne in the background of one picture. Or was that sparkling juice of some kind?

    SAJ says: Yep. Sparkling cider all around.

  • Audrey

    I agree with so many others:

    (1) your wedding was beautiful, and
    (2) it’s the moments that you posted about that make your day yours.

    Some of my favs from our wedding came from one of our flower girls. We had told them that they could sit down during the short (15-min) ceremony, but in the end, they stood up front with the other attendants. At one point, she exclaimed “is this almost OVER?” and then, when it came time for us to kiss, she was saying “ewwww!” Very funny and I’m glad to have these memories of my day, even if it did break up our perfectly planned ceremony!

  • The Chatty Housewife

    I love your wedding photos! They are so beautiful and with all the fog, the lighting was so good for photos. They look really neat. What temperature was it? If it was foggy and in NW WA, it would have been COLD. I liked the last photo especially, the red just jumps out of the photo, and it’s so romantic!

    SAJ says: I don’t remember it being cold but I think a few people might have been chilly. I was wearing the giant dress so I was just fine. Toby says it was in the 70’s (F).

  • Jen

    SAJ, actually, this post made me tear up. I know that it’s a pretty huge day and that you plan and plan, but in the end you cannot tell that anything went the slightest bit wrong for the two of you. You both look so very happy. Thank you so much for sharing all your beautiful pictures and the stories about the day.

  • Steph

    love love love everything!!!!!

    You might have said it…but what were all the white boxes for ?

    SAJ says: Lunch Boxes! I should have said it in my post.

  • BeachMama

    Congrats again on your Anniversary. Your wedding looks like it was a wonderful day. You wouldn’t know from the photos that anything had gone wrong including your hair. I think it looks gorgeous. I love that it was outside, at the beach and a little foggy. Your talents run deep and really, why aren’t you planning parties every day?

    We too have been married 8 years (May 1, 1999) and had been together four years prior. We were married outside at a golf course. I think lots went wrong at our wedding too, but I don’t really remember, it was all a blur. I do remember my new husband partying with all my friends while I got stuck working the room and saying hi to everyone.

  • lainey

    Thanks for the great story! I always wondered what a Secret Agent wedding would be like and now I know…it was gorgeous! I think the fog was so beautiful and you looked amazing too.

  • B B Dress Flower Girl

    I FEEL SO LUCKY TO HAVE FOUND THIS BLOG!!! Your recent post (The Wedding Postor… 101 things that went wrong on my wedding day) really impressed me. Had found this blog a long time ago, I would have really appreciated it. I was searching MSN for information on b b Dress Flower Girl when I stumbled across you Friday. Keep it going!